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This Is What You Get When Fear Mixes With Money

Donald Trump has added something new to the practice of extracting money from major donors: fear.

Traditionally, high-dollar contributors write big checks for a mix of reasons: to curry favor, to support their political party, to promote an agenda, to win favorable tax and regulatory policies, to defeat the opposition, to be seen as powerful — a blend of self-interest and principle.

This year, Trump’s own history in the White House, combined with the agenda for 2025 that he and his allies have been putting together, amounts to a warning to wavering supporters.

According to The Washington Post, Trump has candidly warned onlookers that he will turn the federal bureaucracy into an instrument to punish those who fail to toe the MAGA line:

In public, Trump has vowed to appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” President Biden and his family.

The events described in the Post story

Trump has made “retribution” a central theme of his campaign, seeking to intertwine his own legal defense with a call for payback against perceived slights and offenses to “forgotten” Americans.

Faced with the prospect of a chief executive prepared to abandon the rule of law for the rule of revenge, many affluent donors — for whom the machinations of government determine bankruptcy or wealth — seem to think they have little choice but to pony up to the self-proclaimed “dictator for a day.”

Trump’s campaign to reclaim the White House — armed with the bristling Heritage Foundation playbook, which conservatives are using as a tool to pressure Trump to remain true to the hard-right agenda, as well as long, revealing lists compiled by Axios and The Times of prospective MAGA appointees — is the embodiment of the politics of intimidation.

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